Sunday, March 3

2 deaths in one week related to e-bike crashes

E-bikes have become increasingly popular.

It’s a blast to ride one. To me it just brings out the little girl in me,” Lisa Beert, a saleswoman at Cycle Werks in Port St. Lucie, said.

She said e-bike sales at Cycle Werks have just about doubled in the last couple of years, adding, “the majority of the bikes we sell right now are e-bikes.

As they become more and more on the roadways I think well see more and more crashes unfortunately,” Port St. Lucie Police Chief Richard Del Toro said. “So we just gotta be extra safe now make sure were paying attention and using all the safety precautions we can.”

Last week alone there were two deaths related to e-bike accidents: one in St. Lucie County and the other in Okeechobee County.

Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the first happened on Dec. 26. William Brown was hit on his e-bike on Indian River Drive near Walton Road. Troopers said the driver fled. Brown was airlifted to HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital where he died four days later. The driver of the vehicle was last seen traveling northbound on Indian River Drive. Investigators are still searching for him.

On Friday, a 57-year-old Okeechobee County man riding an e-bike was hit and killed by an SUV.

“Its because of the increased speed with e-bikes,” Berrt said. “It becomes more dangerous. I dont see a lot of people wearing helmets. Bright colored clothing so that you can be seen by cars. Light on the bicycle so that they can see you also.”

Del Toro emphasized that the same responsibility is shared by drivers, saying “you just got to be a little more attentive and make sure you are paying attention.”

New laws have also been put in place to regulate e-bikes. Personal injury lawyer Jordan Wagner said “they want to make sure no one is tampering with the speed and also the wattage of these e-bikes to make sure theyre going at a certain speed. Twenty-eight miles per hour.

While there is no age restriction on who can drive an e-bike, Florida law does require people under the age of 16 to wear a helmet.

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